Gary Numan tells how Donald Trump’s ‘stupid’ decision to pull out of the Paris climate deal helped the songwriter to create his new album - Savage.
The 59-year-old pioneer of British electro-pop tells Jay James and Hal Stewart, in an interview to be aired on the #BigFridayShow, how his new album is a fantasy concept set in a post-apocalyptic, globally-warmed future.
Numan's new album Savage (Songs from a Broken World) tells a story of how people behave in a post-apocalyptic environment and some of the terrible things they might do to survive.
You can listen to part of the interview below or tune in tomorrow, Friday August 11, at 5.30pm for the full Gary Numan chat, including part two of the interview, with plenty of other bantz and antics from hosts Jay and Hal on Forces Radio BFBS.
The award-winning singer-songwriter says the American president’s pledge to remove the US, the world’s second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, from the Paris climate agreement helped him focus on the theme of the album as a concept about a post-apocalyptic world.
Numan told the Forces Radio BFBS broadcasters that the original theme was actually taken from a book that he has been working on for many years.
In the interview, he says that when he sat down to write this album, he thought that “life is pretty good actually”.
He says: “I’ve got no personal crisis to talk about, I’ve got no problems really that have been fuelling any angst in me, nothing like that – so what to write about?”
Numan, whose other albums include Replicas, The Pleasure Principle, Telekon and a host of others up to his 2013 album Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind), added: “I’ve been working on this book for ages so, why don’t I try lifting some of the songs from that and doing a theme album?
“I did a theme album once before in ’79 – one called Replicas – but I’ve not really touched that sort of thing since then, which is surprising because I write.
“I write little stories all the time. I’ve always done that sort of thing.”
Gary Numan's official video is posted on his YouTube channel
Numan tells Jay that making a themed album is very different from making one that is quite personal.
He says: “It is different, I mean that last one was as much therapy as anything else.
“I’ve been through all of this stuff, nearly put my marriage into trouble, it was pretty grim.
“And it went on for years – maybe three or four years, maybe longer.
“It gives you a huge amount of things to write about but it is incredibly close to you and personal and you’re so desperate to write it accurately, to really express what you felt and what it did and how you got through it and so on.
“And then with the fantasy thing, you would think you don’t really care too much about that – that it doesn’t really matter, you know, so long as you give it the right sort of vibe – but it does actually.
“It became really important to me that I described as accurately as possible the things I’ve been trying to get together in the book."
“It became really important to me that I described as accurately as possible the things I’ve been trying to get together in the book.
“The book itself has just been a never-ending, ongoing … fiasco, really … I’ve just not been very good at actually getting it together.
“It’s thousands and thousands of ideas – every day I’m adding ideas to it but I still haven’t actually sat down and turned it into a story. Not even one that is half finished.
“So that side of it has been a bit disappointing.
“It was brilliant with this to be able to take those ideas, condense them, and turn them into these five minute songs where you did have to have some kind of framework around each theme that you are singing about.
“It really helped and it cross-pollinated, it went back into the album as well so I now know that when I go back and this particular music period is finished, I’ll be able to go back to that book and get on with it in a way that I wasn’t able to before because writing the album has consolidated so many of these loose and vague thoughts I had which is why I wasn’t finishing it.”
Numan also tells Jay and Hal about his honour at the music industry’s Ivor Novello Awards where he won the 2017 Ivor Novello Inspiration Awards for songwriting and composing.
Numan said: “That was amazing. I didn’t know exactly what that was for to begin with. That they were going to give you an Ivor blew me away to begin with, that’s an honour that a songwriter can get, an Ivor Novello.
“But then I found out it was for inspiration in songwriting which is just about as good as it gets.
“You’re at the awards and they show this film and normally at an award they show a little 20-second film, and it’s quite often embarrassing, and you go and get your award and it’s lovely.
“But at the Ivor Novello’s, these films are like mini-epics and it charts your whole career and it was so flattering and you just don’t feel worthy.
“Mine was one of the last ones to be presented. I thought all these other people are going up on stage and they all got their little films and you just think, ah, these people are amazing. And they’re really cool and you’re so blown away by how clever they are.
“And then your bit comes along and you just feel absolutely unworthy.
“It was really lovely and I was so flattered and honoured by the whole thing and it meant the world to me.”